For Flaherty, Boston tragedy hit especially close to home

The news of yesterday’s explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon may have affected Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty more than anyone else inside the clubhouse.

Flaherty is a native of Portland, Maine, and he has a deep appreciation for Patriots’ Day, which always includes the marathon. He sat quietly in his Baltimore apartment yesterday, staring at the horrific images flashing on his television screen that will stay with him for a very long time.

“In New England, Patriots’ Day is huge,” Flaherty said. “The Red Sox always play in the morning and then the marathon continues on in the afternoon. I’ve been to it before. It’s a busy day in the city. It’s crazy. But it’s supposed to be a happy day for New Englanders. To have something like that happen is sad.”

Flaherty estimated that he has 10 to 15 friends who live in Boston, and he knew three or four people who ran in the marathon. Everyone is fine.

“It was kind of scary that it happened,” Flaherty said. “We didn’t know how big it was going to be or how big it was. Cell phones weren’t working. It was just a sad, sad day.

“It was scary. The other events - 9/11, Newtown, Aurora - you can relate to it as a U.S. citizen, but not close to home like that.”

The entire team felt close to the tragedy, having been in Boston a week ago for a three-game series that included an off day.

“Three, four days ago, we were sitting right there and walking around there,” Flaherty said. “It’s an eye-opener, for sure. It’s scary.”

Flaherty said he doesn’t feel unsafe as he prepares to play tonight.

“It’s just something that can bring people together, as sad as it sounds,” he said. “Really, the only option if something like that happens is to unite and realize that there are evil people in this world. It’s sad, but it’s true.”

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